Kace Channing has been best friends with Luke Holland for thirty-five years. He can’t imagine his world without him. But over the last twelve months, they’ve hardly seen one another. And life without Luke seems empty.
When Luke shows up on Kace’s doorstep, asking for a place to stay, Kace is happy to say yes. But he isn’t prepared for the kiss that follows, or ready to admit he could kiss Luke forever. What they already have is too important.
And when Luke, the least outdoorsy person Kace knows, tells him he's buying a cabin in the woods, Kace tries to talk him out of it. But Luke’s made up his mind. He says they need it, the two of them.
But won’t kisses and cabins ruin their friendship?
Kace had tried to call Lukas several times, but he wasn’t picking up. Hours had passed, and Kace had played his computer game while waiting but had given up in favor of stretching out on the sofa. The pillow smelled of Luke, and he buried his face in it.
Little by little, his muscles relaxed, and he was about to fall asleep when the front door opened. Kace got off the sofa and hurried toward the hallway, but Lukas was already in the living room. “There. I’ll prove it to you.”
“Prove what?” He didn’t need to prove anything.
“That I’m outdoorsy. I’m camping on your lawn tonight.” He gestured at the door.
Kace sighed and walked past him to the front door. There on his tiny nine times seven feet patch was a tent. It covered the entire area.
“You can’t be serious.” He glanced over his shoulder at Lukas. “You bought a tent.”
Luke huffed. “How do you know I didn’t own it already?”
“Because I know you, and there’s a price tag on it.” He gestured at the tent bag.
Lukas ignored him. “I’m gonna sleep here tonight, and then tomorrow I’m buying a cabin.”
“Uh-huh. What about work?”
Confusion took over Luke’s eyes. “What about work?”
“Aren’t you working anymore?” Kace had never fully understood what it was Luke did. He was a programmer, and unless it was to play a game where he got to blow things up, Kace stayed away from computers.
He grimaced. “I’ve taken time off to ... eh ... move.”
Kace nodded, hurt Luke had told his boss he was separating but not him. He didn’t want to say Luke had betrayed him, but he’d believed they told each other everything. At least, everything important. “And where will you live?”
Luke frowned. “I thought ... eh ... I ... I thought I’d stay here, with you, for a while.”
Kace laughed in disbelief. “Dude, have you seen the size of my place?”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s just for a while.”
“Until you buy the cabin?”
Luke looked away. “The cabin is an hour and a half’s drive away. It’s too long to drive to work every day.”
Kace rubbed his forehead and sighed. “Luke --”
“Please, Kace. I have nowhere else to go.”
Kace pulled him in for a hug. “Of course, you can stay with me. I don’t know how we’ll fit, but --” He shrugged.
Luke relaxed in his arms, and time stopped.
Sighing, Kace shook his head. “So you’re tenting? Nights are cold in March.”
Lukas frowned. “It’s a cold-weather tent. They said so in the shop.”
Kace kept a straight face. “Well, I’m sure you’ll be fine then.” He’d leave the front door unlocked so Luke could come in when it got too cold.
“Yeah ...” Luke glanced at the tent. “You want to sleep there with me?”
“Nope.” It was his night off. He planned on having a beer in front of the TV, warm and cozy, and then go to bed. “You enjoy yourself out here in the wilderness.” He chuckled and Luke slapped his chest.
“You’ll see, I’m totally into tenting.”
Totally? Kace hid a grin. “Of course, you are. Watch out for the wild animals, though.” He kept his tone serious and his face blank.
“There are no wild animals here.” Uncertainty crept into Luke’s eyes. “Right?”
“No, foxes don’t attack people, rats only eat you if you’re asleep, and the occasional bear will be more interested in the trashcan than in you. I’d be more worried about the rapists and the murderers, to be honest.”
“Stop it! You’re not gonna scare me.” Lukas waved his hand, and Kace’s chest filled with warmth. With little thought, he chuckled, hugged Luke closer, and nuzzled his neck. Then he stiffened and took a step away. Hugs they did, neck nuzzles they did not. It was up there with kisses. Luke didn’t seem to mind though. He swayed in Kace’s direction when he increased the distance between them.
“How about some food?” Kace ran a hand through his hair and avoided Lukas’ gaze.